An indie horror film currently raising funds on Kickstarter is Taboo, which will be the first feature film from Matty Muller. Taboo will follow three juvenile criminals who are given one last chance at redemption. Sent onto a team-building course in the forest with their youth worker, they will quickly discover that they are not alone.
“We wanted a positive representation of females in the genre so it’s an all-female cast. They are all strong, well-defined characters in their own right. I personally find that I can write for actresses better than I can for actors,” said Muller.
Charity (Jenna Rodway) is an upper-class socialite with wealthy parents who looks down on everyone. Beyond fitting in with the Plastics from Mean Girls and being a ditz, Charity is an anomaly. She’s also sexually promiscuous and a drug user, which is often a death sentence in horror movies. Previously, Rodway worked with Muller on one of his shorts, Have You Seen Jessica?, before joining the cast of Taboo.
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“Jenna is great to work with, she knows exactly what I want with very little direction. It makes my life easier having such a naturally gifted actress on set.”
Michelle (Katie Cannon) is nerdy with black-rimmed glasses and innocent looks that underline a criminal past of arson. She’s anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian, quasi-religious, and a reader. Unlike Charity, Michelle is sexually awkward and inexperienced. Most of those traits would mark her as the obvious last one standing in a horror movie.
Charlotte (Gabi Kerr) punches first and asks questions later. Easy to anger, her criminal past unsurprisingly includes offenses with violence. Beyond having racist tendencies, Charlotte’s also provocative for the sake of being provocative. Her hair is cut short and she’s often mistaken for a male, which is a triggering point. She sounds like the tough female character that always gets killed. The kind that Michelle Rodriguez regularly plays.
Miss White (College Webb) is the youth worker. A woman in her thirties, she’s idealistic, liberal, dedicated to her role, and the sort of woman who would do anything for anyone. However, the Kickstarter page says, “she appears patient, kind, and caring,” and if you were to go by the exact words of that phrasing, there might be more to Miss White than meets the eye.
There’s also She (Sarah Harwood), a mysterious character with a little-known past whose athletic and fearless. According to Muller, Harwood was everything they looked for with the character of She. They needed someone who lived the role and did not just slip into it when the cameras started rolling.
The Style of Taboo
Courtesy of Dread Central/Kickstarter
While some of the character descriptions make it easy to jump to conclusions over their character’s fate, Muller has also stated that they were keen to avoid the cliches that plague so much horror. For that reason, the girls aren’t going to be sexual deviants and run around in skimpy outfits. That’s also one of the reasons why Muller turned to Kickstarter for this movie.
“Kickstarter was the obvious choice for funding. Taboo is such a unique and, at times, surreal horror that traditional funding didn’t seem appropriate. A lot of financiers wanted overly sexualized T&A or more formulaic storytelling. A Japanese company even offered the full budget, but their changes were not suitable. We just can’t compromise what we’re trying to do.”
When speaking on the movie’s tone, Muller said there would be no jumpscares. Instead, it would be more eerie and unsettling, a slow burn akin to Mark O’Brien’s The Righteous. As opposed to an outright gorefest. In addition, there will be a few nods to Dario Argento and an entirely surreal sequence that’s pure Alejandro Jodorowsky.
Max Van Der Banks is taking on the SFX for Taboo, who’s previously worked on films such as The Dead, The Dead 2: India, and Born of Hope. Beyond that, Muller is also planning on using numerous techniques to create a unique storytelling experience. While Taboo will mainly be shot in a handheld documentary-style format, Muller stressed that Taboo isn’t intended to be a found-footage movie.
“Films that use the found-footage trope all suffer from the same problems. Nauseating camera movement and screaming at something off-camera. Taboo will be more cinéma vérité in that we observe, but don’t necessarily interact.”
Muller and the rest of his crew plan to release Taboo on the festival circuit before moving onto digital distribution. If you wish to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign, go here. The information in this article comes courtesy of Dread Central.